Many of today’s New Age healing practices, rituals and ceremonies are rooted in Native American traditions. The meld began in the 1960’s at the dawn of the New Age movement. Both philosophies focus on man and his relationship with the earth and all of its creatures, and that everything is alive: plants, rocks, the heavens, and the stars. They also impart the belief that it is necessary and important to live in harmony with all beings and that every creature, big or small, is no more or less relevant then another; for each has wisdom and knowledge to convey.
For centuries Native Americans have used animal totems for spiritual guidance and to aid them in self-discovery. This ancient belief suggest that when a creature from the animal, bird or insect world shows itself to you, either in reality or from the dream realm, they are there to offer you guidance.
The guidance and lessons one needs to learn are conveyed by studying the animal’s instinctual behaviors and natural habitats. Contemplate where the animal lives; is it in the water, forest or dessert? Does it live alone or in a pack? What does it eat? And so on. This information will help you reveal what lessons, messages and guidance the animal has bequeathed to you. Take for example the animal totems listed below:
The Raven brings a change in consciousness, self-knowledge and introspection. Ravens are very intelligent and can mimic various sounds and even human words. Your Raven Spirit Totem can help with transformation and in moving into another dimension.
The Squirrel Spirit brings energy, adaptability and joy. Squirrels work diligently to prepare for the winter but stop often to play. Your Squirrel Spirit teaches to prepare for the future, take only what is needed, and to find the balance between work and play.
The Mouse Spirit brings the sense of observation, inviting us to see the details in all things. She also brings discretion and a sense of organization. Mouse Spirit can help you scrutinize details without becoming overly fixated and nitpicky.
Native American practices have also influenced the New Age with the concept of gratitude. This ancient native practice emphasizes a belief that one should give thanks daily for all that life has to offer, not just the stuff we are given. Life itself is a gift that must be cherished and by giving thanks on a daily basis we are reminded of the true spirit of life.
Today many metaphysical, New Age and spiritual healers commonly recommend practicing gratitude on a daily basis. The act of physically writing down what one is grateful for can have a profound effect on one’s life. This practice teaches each person to focus on all that is positive. As one becomes more positive they are able to attract more positive energy towards them and life changes for the better.
Using a dream catcher for protection against nightmares is one of the most prevalent Native American traditions in practice today. Legends of these sacred hoops vary from tribe to tribe, but their intent was universal. Good dreams were allowed to filter through the web and glide down the feathers to the sleeper, and bad dreams would become entangle in the web and would be destroyed by the morning light.
Many Native American practices incorporate the use of feather fetishes. Feathers form a symbolic connection to the air element. These sacred objects can be used to awaken the spirit or for protection, healing and prayer rituals. Each feather brings messages and teachings from the bird it originated from. Turkey feathers are commonly used to fan smoke from a smudge stick around a room or person for purification.
Smudging (the burning of herbs) is another Native American ritual that has made its way into modern metaphysical practices. The smoke produced by a smudge stick captures negative energies and transports them to the heavens were they are turned into positive forces.
Native American healing practices and rituals have benefitted people for centuries and its influence on modern metaphysical practices and believes are paramount. The melding of these ancient ways with the modern new day philosophies has created a lifestyle and way of thinking that is more in touch with nature, the world and the essence of our being.
Whatever happens to the beast, also happens to the man. All things are connected. ~Chief Seattle, Suwamish Tribe